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The Lancet Maternal Health Series: Global Research and Evidence

Hear the latest expert evidence from The Lancet Maternal Health Series and learn what you can do to improve maternal healthcare.

9,627 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Improve the quality of and access to maternal health services.

Imagine a woman in a remote village, perhaps in Africa or South Asia. She’s giving birth at home with a relative. Without access to drugs or transport, she could die.
While maternal deaths have nearly halved in the past 25 years worldwide, thanks to the increased use of maternity services, progress has not been universal.

This online course explores the state of maternal health globally, based on The Lancet Maternal Health Series. You will review the latest evidence from experts, and learn what is needed to ensure good-quality, woman-centred maternal healthcare for all.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds OONA CAMPBELL: Millennium Development Goal Five, aim to improve maternal health. Then, the face of maternal health was a woman in a remote village, perhaps in Africa or South Asia, labouring at home with an unskilled relative. No drugs, no transport. If she bled, she died. We aimed for maternal survival. The past quarter century delivered progress for some women and their newborn babies. Maternal deaths fell globally by nearly 1/2, and the use of maternity services increased markedly. Now, the picture for maternal health is more diverse. Women and babies are still left behind in too many places, but the new face of maternal health is now that of a woman who put her faith in her health system and sought care.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds I look at Nargis, who delivered her baby in a health facility in India. Both survived. I wonder at her expression and at their experience. Was it bad? Did she or her baby have poor care? Is she pained or worried? Or was her experience good with life saving or life enhancing care? Is she proud and content? My name is Oona Campbell, and I’m a professor of epidemiology and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I’m the lead educator for this MOOC on the Lancet Maternal Health Series, Global Research and Evidence.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds With Professor Wendy Graham, also from the London School, I was principal investigator for the 2016 Lancet Maternal Health Series, collaborating with maternal health researchers from other leading institutions worldwide. We brought together 77 authors globally, shining a light on the determinants, trends, and prospects for maternal health as we enter the Sustainable Development Goal Era. In this series and in this MOOC, we hold that the right to good quality woman centred maternal health care is universal. In this course, we’ll hear from a range of maternal health experts on evidence from across disciplines, including epidemiology, health systems, economics, advocacy, programming, obstetrics, and midwifery. The experts explain and build on the Lancet series using videos, articles, mini lectures, and discussions. We’ll ask these questions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 40 seconds What is the state of the world’s maternal health and health care? What is quality of maternal health like, including too little too late and too much too soon? And finally, what is the future of maternal health? The course is suitable for you if you’re considering or undertaking postgraduate study in maternal health or in a related topic, such as public health, global health, medicine, or midwifery. The course deliberately covers content from high, middle, and low income settings, but we particularly welcome students and researchers from lower-middle income countries, where the burden of poor maternal health is largest. Research enables us to tell women’s stories, to describe trends, and to highlight priorities for action by all of us.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 seconds We now have a very large set of sustainable development goals and targets with potential benefits for maternal health in many of the goals. Join our course to understand what is needed to improve the quality of care and reduce disparities in access to maternal health services in order to secure future economic and social development, and also, to support the vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

What topics will you cover?

  • The shifting burden of the epidemiology of global maternal health, how it has changed and key drivers
  • Capability and coverage of maternal health care including where and how women give birth; linking women to routine and emergency care; facility capability and staffing
  • Quality maternal health care and how it relates to evidence-based medicine and respectful care
  • Poor quality maternal health care including “too much, too soon” and “too little, too late”, and how care can be improved
  • Navigating the future of global maternal health including evolving priorities, challenges and opportunities in the Sustainable Development
  • Goal era including shocks; innovations; partnership and advocacy; financing; developing better data collection and research

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the state of the world’s maternal health and health care
  • Investigate quality maternal health care, including the extremes of 'too little, too late' and 'too much, too soon'
  • Explore and reflect on the future of maternal health

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for people who are studying, researching or working in maternal health or related disciplines such as public health, global health or medicine.

If you’re a healthcare professional, you may find it useful to upgrade this course to support your continuing professional development (CPD). By upgrading, you’ll be able to take this course at your own pace and revisit the material at any time in future. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement as evidence of your CPD. This includes details of what you learnt and the number of learning hours required.

What software or tools do you need?

You can read The Lancet Maternal Health Series open access papers and commentaries here. In addition, the series website contains further materials including videos, case studies and infographics.

Please note that there are PDF transcripts available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish of all articles and videos.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professor of Epidemiology and Reproductive Healh with 30+ years experience in maternal health research, mostly in low and middle-income countries. I led the 2016 Lancet Maternal Health Series

I am Professor of Obstetrics & Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. My passion is to reduce healthcare-associated infections in mothers & newborns in low-income countries.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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